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review 2017-05-17 07:25
Susannah's Garden
Susannah's Garden - Debbie Macomber

This is the 3rd book in the Blossom Street Series and it is also my favorite book in the series.  I'm not sure what it is about this book that makes me like it so much but I've read it 4 times (that I can remember).  I guess maybe it is because there is a mystery to be solved and I love mysteries.  I often have a hard time staying interested in books when there isn't a mystery. 


This book takes the reader away from Blossom Street when Susannah learns her widowed mother is not doing as well as she thought living alone.  She decides to go stay with her mother for a while and see how she is doing for herself.  She soon realizes her mother needs to be moved to a long-term care facility.  She was especially concerned when her mother tells her that her dead husband is coming to see her.  


Susannah also has another mission too, one she did not tell her husband about.  She wants to find her high school boyfriend and find out why he suddenly left and where he went.  While looking through her father's desk she uncovers some things that her father was keeping secret.  Together with one of her friends from high school they start to put the pieces together.


While Susannah is dealing with those things her daughter is home from college for the summer and decides to come and help her mom with her grandmother.  She ends up hooking up with a troublemaker that is the son of someone Susannah went to school with.  Susannah is sure he is dealing drugs and doesn't want her daughter to be involved with him but trying to talk to her daughter only causes more problems.  Her daughter is just like Susannah was when she was that age and she is learning how her dad must have felt.  

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url 2017-05-10 17:06
Arts make students smart Conscious Parenting Book Excerpt
Conscious Parenting: Mindful Living Course for Parents - Nataša Pantović Nuit

Arts, sport, music and drama are often viewed as fun extra-curricular activities for but are given less importance compared with core subjects such as English, science, or mathematics.


Nevertheless, numerous studies prove that practising art, music and sport from an early age improves brain activity, self-confidence, creativity, and gives students an overall sense of well-being.


Creativity and divine inspiration quote from Conscious Parenting Book

Source: artof4elements.com/entry/6/arts-make-students-smart
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review 2017-05-03 18:51
Book 26/100: New Mom, New Woman by Rachel Egan

New Mom, New WomanNew Mom, New Woman by Rachel Egan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book disappeared from my Goodreads shelves for some reason, and I didn't notice until I was reminded of it when I opened my Kindle and saw my recently completed reads. This wasn't the best book, but I still want credit for reading it, especially since I am behind on my reading challenge for the year!

The main point of this book is to tell new parents to go easy on themselves in the upheaval that is new parenthood, to take some time to determine their priorities and to use those to create a "new normal." The idea is to keep women from inadvertently falling into the martyr role, where their entire lives become consumed with caring for others to the point of neglecting themselves -- not just in the intense months and years of early childhood, but throughout their parenting journey.

The book is full of exercises to that end that seem as if they could be really helpful. Unfortunately, I read an ARC on my Kindle, and the book was not properly formatted for that medium. So I had to guess at what many of the exercises, charts, and images were supposed to look like based on context because they came out all screwed up. It's a pet peeve of mine when publishers put out electronic ARCs that have shoddy formatting -- it really does affect the reading experience and it makes it harder to look favorably on a book.

Rachel Egan is a coach for new moms, and I imagine working one-on-one with her in that capacity would be enormously helpful. The book might be a good stand-in for those who are not comfortable with or cannot afford formal coaching, but the ebook version should be avoided to get the most benefit out of the exercises. Even if the formatting is fixed on the final version (which it better be if people are going to pay money for it), there are a lot of places where the book asks you to answer questions, make notes, circle things, etc. -- all of which seem a lot easier with a physical copy. Unfortunately, because of the yucky ebook formatting, I probably won't use this much once I'm actually dealing with these issues after my baby's arrival.

View all my reviews

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review 2017-05-01 00:07
Book 23/100: Parents Need to Eat Too by Debbie Koenig
Parents Need to Eat Too: Nap-Friendly Recipes, One-Handed Meals, and Time-Saving Kitchen Tricks for New Parents - Debbie Koenig

I asked my IRL and Goodreads friend who has a lot of cookbooks on her GR list how she decided that a cookbook had been "read" -- did she read it cover to cover? She said her criteria was that she had looked through the whole thing and cooked at least one recipe from it. Those seemed like sensible criteria to me, so I shall adopt them as my own when reviewing cookbooks.

Although I did not read every single word in this cookbook, I did page through all the recipes (diligently page-flagging the MANY I want to try), read a lot of the tips and anecdotes and sidebars, and cooked two recipes from it over the weekend (which both earned a "very good" rating -- my recipe rating system is "average" (realistically, something I will never bother cooking again), "good," "very good," and "excellent.")

I honestly love this cookbook for so many reasons. I think the best cookbooks should inspire you to want to cook what you find in their pages immediately, and make you feel excited about the many culinary possibilities that lay before you. This cookbook does just that, and it has the added advantage of being full of time-saving tips and a variety of recipes that truly are quick and easy without being too bland or predictable. Although it is not a vegetarian cookbook, it is not overly meat-heavy, either -- even skipping over the meat recipes, I found plenty of meal ideas. It's organized in a way that makes it easy to find what you want based on your own style of cooking, and I learned some important general cooking tips from the various notes and sidebars. There are no photos of the food, which I prefer -- photos tend to intimidate rather than inspire me. It's just all information, all the time, and it's almost all good.

With all this praise, it may be puzzling that I gave this book four stars instead of five. It lost one star due to its "big batch" (i.e., freezer cooking) chapter being somewhat disappointing. As a veteran freezer cooker (it's how my household has been eating since 2013), I disagreed with some of her tips and thought she left some important methods and overall techniques out. It's clear this is not her particular area of expertise, which is OK -- she does provide additional resources for those who find the idea appealing after an initial introduction.

Overall, though, I expect to use this cookbook a LOT in the coming months, and I'm looking forward to it!

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review 2017-04-30 03:22
Book 22/100: Beyond the Sling by Mayim Bialik
Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way - Mayim Bialik,Jay Gordon

It's hard to review a book like this without sounding like I'm passing judgment on Bialik's parenting choices, which I don't really want to do -- I'm sure her kids, like most of us, will turn out more-or-less fine.

I don't know a ton about attachment parenting, but I knew that attachment parents did a lot of things I plan to do, like baby-wearing, exclusive breastfeeding, sleeping with baby in the same room, etc. And after reading about attachment parenting apart from Bialik's book, I still basically agree with its tenets. But Bialik's interpretation of it just takes it too far for my tastes, and throws in a bunch of stuff that just made her lose credibility in my eyes (like "elimination communication" and being anti-vax and generally anti-medical intervention in general).

I feel a little bit like Bialik's interpretation of attachment parenting principles is akin to fundamentalists' interpretation of Biblical principles -- they might feel like they are doing it "better" than everyone else, but really their extremism is mostly in service of their own feelings of righteousness. I can get behind responding to a child's needs in an intuitive way, but I was very uncomfortable with Bialik's interpretation that this essentially meant a parent could NEVER be away from her children. I cringed when I learned that she had only been out with her husband without her children three times in five years -- and I was not surprised to find out that they divorced a couple years after this book was published. In many ways, her interpretation of the parenting style seemed to be more about parental dependence on the children rather than the other way around. Not to mention that it deprived her children of relationships with other nurturing adults and the opportunity to build a wider support network -- far from being a hardship, I always considered it a treat to get attention from non-parental adults (babysitters, Grandma, aunts) when my own parents went out on dates or to do other things that didn't revolve around being parents.

So even though I hope to take a more balanced approach to parenting than Bialik seems to do, I still found the book helpful because my own responses to her ideas helped solidify my own parenting values.

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